Irrigation to Begin on the Rio Grande Project

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, (505)462-3576,

For Release: March 03, 2017

Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico on the Rio Grande.
Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico on the Rio Grande.
ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. – Water movement on the Rio Grande Project is set to begin next week in preparation for the upcoming irrigation season.

The Bureau of Reclamation will begin releases from Elephant Butte Dam at 8 a.m. on March 6 to move water to Caballo Reservoir. The release will quickly ramp up to 600 cubic feet per second. The release rate will double the following week.

The release from Caballo Dam is scheduled to begin on March 31 at 550 cubic feet per second.

The dry riverbeds below both reservoirs will take on water quickly and the water will begin to flow downstream. The public is asked to stay out of the river channels for their safety. Flows will fluctuate through the spring and summer months according to the downstream irrigation demands.

The Rio Grande Project is used to irrigate lands in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District in southern New Mexico and in the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 in far west Texas. The Rio Grande Project also supplies water to Mexico in accordance with the 1906 international treaty. In addition, water from the project is used for municipal and industrial purposes by the city of El Paso, Texas.

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